G&M’s Connoisseur’s Choice was introduced in the late 1960’s and throughout the last 50 years has offered whisky enthusiasts a regular, dependable range of single malt whiskies from a staggering number of different distilleries. The newly relaunched Connoisseur’s Choice range comes not only in smart, redesigned bottles, but also with plenty of pertinent information on label. Travel back in time to the 1970s and 80s and the old style map labels of the Connoisseur’s Choice series presented customers with a lot less detail on what they were consuming. No precise distillation or bottling dates, no indication on the type of cask or its number. Likewise, many bottlings were delivered at 40% as opposed to the higher strength of today’s range.
Our 1978 Connoisseur’s Choice bottling hails from Aberfeldy. It was bottled in 1998, so, depending on distillation and bottling months will either be a 19 or 20 year old single malt. As with much of the range at the time, it’s delivered at 40% ABV.
Nose: Light, verging on shy – resting offered no improvement in expression or definition. Gentle green apples and golden malts are paired with pine needles and straw for a fresh, but rather unassuming nose. In the background, slight yeasty bread and old wallpaper. All-in-all inoffensive, but there’s not much going on here.
Taste: Thin on arrival, but at least more pronounced than on the nose. Apple crumble, steeped black tea and a touch of dusty pineapple (OBE?) all provide interesting flavours, but they’re delivered in a slightly anaemic manner. The development (if one could call it that) is swift and rather hollow – in the mid to back-palate, some banana bread, straw and hay alongside a touch of raw coppery spirit and dried grasses and hay.
Finish: Short to medium, again with spirit rawness. There’s a pleasant sense of dryness with both a sprinkle of pepper and a touch of boot polish.
Unfortunately, there’s just not much going on with this Connoisseur’s Choice 1978 Aberfeldy – Whilst technically without fault, the whole experience is both devoid of complexity and likewise oddly youthful for the time spent in cask. Remarkably forgettable. You can’t win em all.